It’s an excuse we’ve all used, either during pregnancy or in the months afterwards, when we can’t remember someone’s name, where we left our keys, or what day of the week it is. But scientists in America claim to have proved that ‘baby brain’ doesn’t exist at all...
Apparently, ‘baby brain’ is purely a myth and is all in the heads of pregnant women and new mums.
Scientists at Brigham Young University, Utah, say new research proves such absent-mindedness is nothing to do with the baby.
A group of pregnant women took a three-hour assessment, testing memory, thinking, spatial skills, and organisation; once during their third trimester, and again between three and six months after the birth of their babies.
In every category of the tests, the women performed just as well as a control group of women with no history of pregnancy. The only difference was when the women had to rate their own memory and quality of life - the pregnant women and new mums rated themselves consistently lower than the control group.
So where does the myth of baby brain come from? The scientists suggest it is due to cultural expectations, or the lower sense of wellbeing some pregnant and new mums have.
Michael Larson, lead author of the study, can see potential benefits from realising that forgetfulness is only fiction.
“Somebody might learn about this and say, ‘I am thinking OK even though I am pregnant,’” Larson said. “It might improve their quality of life, it might improve how they are functioning – they might start believing in themselves.”